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Volume 39, Number 5, October 2006

Prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of Shigella species in Asmara, Eritrea, northeast Africa

Durgadas Govind Naik
Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, College of Health Science, University of Asmara, Asmara, Eritrea

Received: August 23, 2005    Revised: December 20, 2005    Accepted: January 12, 2006   


Corresponding author:

Durgadas Govind Naik, Department of Clinical Laboratory Science, College of Health Science, University of Asmara, Asmara 9582, Eritrea. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Background and purpose: 

Diarrheal diseases are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries. Of the bacterial causes of dysentery, Shigella are the major enteropathogens with outbreak potential and common development of antimicrobial resistance. This study determined the prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of different spp. of Shigella in Asmara, Eritrea.




Diarrheic stool specimens of a total of 2420 children were screened for Shigella organisms over a period of 3 years using standard methods. The Shigella isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility pattern by the disk diffusion method.




Of the 84 Shigella isolates, 54 were Shigella flexneri and 20 were Shigella dysenteriae type 1. High rates of resistance were observed against ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole; 6% of the S. flexneri isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid.




The study emphasizes the need for continuous monitoring of the occurrence of Shigella organisms and their antimicrobial susceptibility pattern for the successful treatment and control of Shigella dysentery, and also for the development of public health policy for populations at risk for shigellosis.



Key words:

Diarrhea, dysentery, microbial sensitivity tests, prevalence, Shigella



J Microbiol Immunol Infect2006;39:392-395.